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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
India PM stresses nuclear gains
Manmohan Singh
Mr Singh has faced stiff resistance from Communists to a nuclear deal
Indian PM Manmohan Singh has said that the country cannot be left behind on developments in nuclear energy.

Mr Singh's comments came a day after the government and its Communist allies decided to form a committee to study the controversial nuclear deal with US.

The communists say the deal, under which India gets access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel, gives the US leverage on India's foreign policy.

Mr Singh has refused to back down and said the deal was vital for India.

Speaking at an event to commission two new nuclear reactors in western India, Mr Singh said energy security was essential to sustain India's economic growth.

"There is today talk the world over of a nuclear renaissance and we cannot afford to miss the bus or lag behind those global developments," he said.

"India is now too important a country to remain outside the international mainstream in this critical area. We need to pave the way for India to benefit from nuclear commerce without restrictions."

Under the landmark nuclear deal with the US , India is allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel - something that is seen as a major concession and opposed by some members of the US Congress as India has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

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